World Colored Heavyweight Championship

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The World Colored Heavyweight Championship was a title awarded to black boxers in the late 1800s and early twentieth century. It was created because white boxers drew the color line and refused to defend the World Heavyweight Championship against black boxers. The colored title was not sanctioned by a governing body, and sometimes there was more than one claimant to the title.

In 1908, Jack Johnson defeated Tommy Burns to became the first black boxer to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Because Johnson refused to defend against any of the leading black boxers, claiming the fights wouldn't draw crowds, the colored title continued to exist. Every champion after Johnson continued to draw the color line until Jim Braddock defended the title against Joe Louis in 1937. After Louis won the World Heavyweight Championship, the colored title ceased to exist.

No.
Champion
Date Opponent Result
1 C.C. Smith 1876
2 Morris Grant 1878
3 Charles Hadley January 14, 1881 Morris Grant W 3
4 George Godfrey February 23, 1883 Charles Hadley KO 6
5 Peter Jackson August 24, 1888 George Godfrey TKO 19
6 Bob Armstrong 1 December 21, 1896 Charley Strong KO 19
7 Frank Childs January 29, 1898 Bob Armstrong KO 2
8 George Byers September 14, 1898 Frank Childs W 20
9 Frank Childs March 16, 1901 George Byers KO 17
10 Denver Ed Martin February 24, 1902 Frank Childs W 6
11 Jack Johnson February 5, 1903 Denver Ed Martin W 20
12 Sam McVea 2 February 20, 1909 Joe Jeannette W 20
13 Joe Jeannette April 17, 1909 Sam McVea RTD 49
14 Sam Langford 3 September 6, 1910 Joe Jeannette W 15
15 Sam McVea December 26, 1911 Sam Langford W 20
16 Sam Langford April 8, 1912 Sam McVea W 20
17 Sam Langford 4 May 1, 1914 Harry Wills ND 10
18 Sam Langford November 26, 1914 Harry Wills KO 14
19 Joe Jeannette April 13, 1915 Sam Langford W 12
20 Sam McVea June 29, 1915 Sam Langford W 12
21 Harry Wills September 7, 1915 Sam McVea W 12
22 Harry Wills January 3, 1916 Sam Langford W 20
23 Sam Langford February 11, 1916 Harry Wills KO 19
24 Sam Langford 5 May 12, 1916 Joe Jeannette KO 7
25 Bill Tate January 25, 1917 Sam Langford W 12
26 Sam Langford May 1, 1917 Bill Tate KO 5
27 Harry Wills April 14, 1918 Sam Langford KO 6
28 Bill Tate 6 January 2, 1922 Harry Wills DQ 1
29 George Godfrey 7 November 8, 1926 Larry Gains TKO 6
30 Larry Gains August 15, 1928 George Godfrey DQ 3
31 George Godfrey 8 August 24, 1931 Seal Harris KO 2
32 Obie Walker October 9, 1933 George Godfrey W 10
33 Larry Gains July 20, 1935 Obie Walker W 15


1 After Peter Jackson relinquished the title, Bob Armstrong defeated Charley Strong and claimed the vacant title.
2 Jack Johnson relinquished the title after he defeated Tommy Burns to win the world heavyweight title. Sam McVea defeated Joe Jeannette and claimed the vacant colored title.
3 Sam Langford defended his claim to the title against Joe Jeannette. In 1909, after Jack Johnson refused to give him a title shot, Langford claimed the colored title.
4 The winner of the fight was disputed, with both Sam Langford and Harry Wills claiming victory and the title.
5 Sam Langford defeated Joe Jeannette for the undisputed world colored heavyweight championship
6 Bill Tate and Harry Wills fought to a ten-round draw four days later, both claiming the title.
7 The title was declared vacant after Harry Wills lost to Jack Sharkey. George Godfrey defeated Larry Gains and claimed the vacant title.
8 After Larry Gains relinquished the title, George Godfrey defeated Seal Harris and claimed the vacant title.

Sources:
The Freeman - The Recent Langford-Wills Bout
Wikipedia - World Colored Heavyweight Championship
East Side Boxing - Lineage of the coloured heavyweight title